April 1 marks the birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru of the Sikh religion, also regarded for safeguarding Sikhs and the Hindus against a law that forced them to convert to Islam. During his lifetime, he made long journeys to different corners across the country like Kashmir and Assam to preach the tenets of Guru Nanak. His son, Guru Gobind Singh was the last and the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. He transformed followers of the religion to counter the dominance of the Mughals.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for refusing to embrace Islam. He was beheaded on November 24, 1675. On the occasion of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s birth anniversary today, remembering him by looking at some lesser known facts of his life.
1. Born Tyaga Mal, the ninth guru of the Sikh was named Guru Tegh Bahadur by Guru Hargobind.
2. Guru Tegh Bahadur learnt from Bhai Buddha. He was trained in archery and horsemanship. Bhai Gurdas taught him old classics.
3. Guru Tegh Bahadur meditated at Bakala for about 26 years 9 months 13 days.
4. Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed in Delhi. His martydom site is situated in Chandni Chowk, in front of Sheesh Ganj Gurudwara.
5. He significantly contributed to his community, giving many hymns and coupletes to the Guru Granth Sahib.
6. His works include 116 shabads, and 15 ragas which are included in Adi Granth.
7. Guru Tegh Bahadur is known to have extensively traveled to preach the teachings of Nanak.
8. According to a popular legend on the discovery of Guru Tegh Bahadur, a wealthy trader named Baba Makhan Shah Labana prayed throughout his life and pledged to give 500 gold coins to the subsequent guru if he survives. He went around meeting people and giving them 2 gold coins each expecting that the real guru would have received his silent promise. It was only Guru Tegh Bahadur who reminded the trader of his promise and that is how the 9th guru was found.